SEATTLE -- It was a relieved and tired Chuck Greenberg that I talked to on the phone in the early hours of Thursday. Click here to read that entire interview. It was a strange and twisting day and I can tell you it was interesting to try to follow it from Seattle as some of the players tried to keep tabs on it and so did the four beat writers traveling with the team (we were hitting refresh on our twitter accounts 1,000 times). A few general thoughts now that it's the morning after:
* If you haven't already, read ESPNDallas.com columnist Jim Reeves' take. He, like some other media folks, stuck it out through a very long day in a Fort Worth courtroom. He talks about what happened here.
* As the Rangers game began, the auction was commencing with sides analyzing bids. But as the game headed to the fifth inning or so, the Rangers were down 5-2 and the Jim Crane-Mark Cuban group had the leading bid. There was a sense in the in-game chat that it was not going to be the kind of night most Ranger fans wanted. It's certainly seemed from the beginning that most fans wanted Nolan Ryan and Chuck Greenberg to get this team if for nothing else than to insure that Ryan remained an integral part of it.
But in an instant, things changed. David Murphy hit the big three-run homer after Seattle had intentionally walked Nelson Cruz. Shortly after that, Greenberg-Ryan put in a bid higher than Crane-Cuban and you got the feeling things were far from over. After a while, Crane-Cuban went higher again.
That's when Michael Young hit the grand slam just after Greenberg-Ryan decided to really up their offer. That ended up being the decisive moment in both the game and the auction. The mood in the in-game chat certainly changed.
* I remain surprised that the Crane-Cuban group didn't win this auction. I just assumed that as serious as Cuban showed he was on Wednesday that he wouldn't leave without the team. But this also proves that what Greenberg said all along about having the capital was true. The money behind his group stepped up and got this done.
* The fact that Greenberg-Ryan won the auction (and should gain swift approval) means that the transition should be smooth. When the Red Sox come to town late next week, the Greenberg-Ryan group should be in control. That means they can jump right into some critical negotiations: tying up Jon Daniels and his staff long term, talking with agents for free agents Cliff Lee and Vladimir Guerrero and exploring a contract extension for Ron Washington, who could end up being manager of the year. And, of course, getting a deal done with Josh Hamilton, who is arbitration-eligible next season.
* As for the game, I thought it was very big for this club. They keep an 8-game lead and avoid the possibilty of being swept in Seattle. With Felix Hernandez on the mound tonight, it won't be easy. The offense came out of it's slumber to pound out 11 runs -- 10 of them with two outs. We'll see if it can carry over against a tough pitcher tonight.
Did you stay up for the end of the courtroom drama and the game? What were your emotions like last night?